Guest Post: The Stock Rabbi on Not Being a Schmuck
- Joshua M Brown
- January 11th, 2011
Today we have a special treat. The Stock Rabbi, a Talmudic scholar and expert on breakout stocks, had something he wanted to get off his chest and I jumped at the chance to give him a forum. Enjoy!
First of all, Happy Goyim New Year (my New Year is sometime in September). I write to you today in the hopes that I can temper some of the animal spirits within you as we begin 2011. I’m going to give you the most important investment advice you’ve ever received. Free of charge, of course.
It’s Passover, 1962. Early evening.
My feet are dangling precariously over the streets of Boerum Hill, my hands flailing about for a grip on something – anything – to keep me from falling. I am on the rickety fire escape outside our fifth floor walk-up apartment in Brooklyn. My father leans his head out the adjacent window and yells “Herschel! Vat the hell are you doing out there?”
“I’m looking for the matzoh you hid,” I replied, “I know it’s out here somewhere and I need that five dollars!”
“Don’t be a schmuck!” cried my father, “the matzoh is under the sofa cushions, now get in here before your mother sees you, she’s gonna plotz!”
I’ve carried the lesson of that night with me into my investing activities. Remembering not to be a schmuck has allowed me to trade some of the most aggressive, high beta stocks on the board without ever once losing my tucchus in the market. When I see some of the risky business you people engage in just to grab that extra few hundred basis points, I am reminded of my father’s intonation as if it were just last night.
And so, to my speculating colleagues, I offer the following entreaty – Don’t be a schmuck!
Buying Chinese reverse merger stocks on the bulletin board? Schmuck! The only thing you should be reversing is your big white Mercedes boat out of a Chinese restaurant’s parking lot.
Trading palladium and platinum? Oy! What do you know from platinum? Stay out of that whole mishegas, that’s not for you bubbie.
Working at Google, selling inside information to those WASPs in Connecticut? What are you, a schmuck on wheels? You’ve got a job! My niece Marissa out in Dix Hills is babysitting 4 nights a week just to fill her gas tank! And you’re risking your job at GOÖGELEH!
Leveraged currency speculation? Does money grow on trees, Putz? You better save your money, do you have any idea how much sleepaway camp for your grandchildren is gonna cost next summer?
Look, I’m not going to tell you your business, but your favorite Rabbi is out there slingin’ stocks with the best of ‘em in this tape day after day and knows a pointless risk when he sees one.
So please – whether you’re trader or investor, boy or goyl, Jew or Gentile, Team Jacob or Team Edward – heed my advice. If you find yourself engaging in any of the above activities, ask yourself, “Am I being a schmuck?” If the answer is yes, then knock it off.
Before your mother sees you – or she’s gonna plotz!
Trade ‘em well.
Thanks, Stock Rabbi!
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The Reformed Broker is a blog about financial markets and the economy. Joshua Brown is a New York City-based investment advisor for high net worth individuals, charitable foundations, retirement plans and corporations... More.